In a 6-0 vote, Santa Barbara's City Council put in motion a plan that will end the use of plastic bags in most local stores.
The ban will begin six months from now in larger grocery stores and pharmacies/drug stores, and be mandatory in smaller stores selling food or sundries within the City of Santa Barbara in a year. When completed, more than 60 businesses within the city will be affected. Take-out food businesses will still be able to use plastic bags, and produce can still be placed in plastic bags. The ban does not apply to businesses such as clothing retailers.
The City Council's decision ends the appeal of an Environmental Impact Report which clears the way for the change in policy. Plastic bag manufacturers and representatives of grocery stores had appealed the Report, which supported the change. The City Council's rejection of the appeal then allowed a vote to put the ban in place.
Santa Barbara joins other local cities including Carpenteria and San Luis Obispo where plastic bag bans are already in place.
Customers will be charged 10 cents for each paper bag they use at the store if they do not bring their own re-usable bag.
Members of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to take up a discussion about a ban on plastic bags at stores outside of cities in a meeting next week.